232 children released from Mayi Mayi forces in the Kivus by UNICEF and partners
UNICEF and Save the Children, in collaboration with the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) have secured the release of 232 children from Mayi Mayi forces over the last few days. 182 children were separated from the Mayi Mayi Baleine Brigade in Beni, North Kivu last week. Their release follows an intensive media and outreach campaign on the non-recruitment and non-use of children by armed groups.
The average age of the separated children that were recently recruited in the wake of increased conflict in North Kivu is 14 years of age. The majority of the 232 children are currently in transitory care facilities and awaiting family reunification. Once reunified, they will receive assistance to go back to school, undertake vocational training, or start small income generating activities.
While UNICEF lauds this positive development it remains concerned about the hundreds of children who remain in armed groups and forces in the DRC. UNICEF is calling on all armed groups and forces to release these children immediately into the care of child protection agencies as part of the National Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) Programme.
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